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The Essenes and The Law

For those curious to get a better understanding about the Essenes and the subject of “The Law.” the Essenes were not against the Law insomuch that the Essenes wanted purity and truth in the Law.

“According to Epiphanius, the “heretical” beliefs of the Nazarenes were:
1. They believed that Moses was given the “True Law” in the Pentateuch (first five books of the Old Testament). However, unscrupulous and corrupt scribes altered these texts to suit their needs.

“Most scholars conclude that the commune or kibbutz at Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found was Essene in nature. The Community Rule or the Damascus Document expands on the Mosaic Law and helped the community define itself. It was Jewish disobedience that troubled them. If I may be so bold, I believe it was their desire to return to the land, back to the Eden Way of life that truly drove them to become a community. Yashua, as an Essene from the northern Nazarenes would have found himself out of harmony with some of traditional Torah-focused Mosaic Law – especially all of the sacrificial rules. Which helps to explain how he intended to “fulfill” and end that Law with the New Covenant. The Southern Ossaeanes took it a step further and felt the books were works of fiction and forbade their use!!! Epiphanius confirmed that although they had differing opinions on certain things, the Northern and Southern communities of Essenes were “closely connected.”

“The Jewish historian, Josephus, corroborates much of what Philo wrote. He describes the Essenes in War (2:119–161) as part of the three sects of Judaism: the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the Essenes. A fourth ‘troublemaker’ anti-taxation sect appears during the Roman occupation known as the Galilean Judas. This may explain why there is some negative talk about Galileans in the New Testament. Josephus describes the communal nature of the Essene life and primarily refers to the “Southern” Ossaeans of Qumran sect negative attitudes towards marriage. They taught celibacy, whereas the Northern Nazarenes allowed marriage. The northern and southern Essenes tended to have differences in the scriptures they revered as well, their Teacher of Righteousness, attitudes towards marriage, attitude towards Mosaic Law and the calendars they followed: luni-solar vs 364 days a year.

“Essenes were seen as extremists: conservative orthodox similar to how Hasidic Jews are often viewed today. There was serious conflict within the tribes of Israel and especially within the temple leadership. Yashua was very vocal about his disdain for their lack of adherence to the “spirit” of Mosaic Law. He spoke about it in the Gospel of Luke 13 and especially in the famous ‘eight passages of Woe’ from the Gospel of Matthew 23. It should be noted that in quintessential Yashua fashion, much of what He says is clouded in parables and mystery for those who truly seek him to find. So in order to understand this scripture better, it is good to understand that many times when Yashua refers to the “temple” or the “altar” He is referring to the body temple in which the Living G*D dwells. He said as much on many occasions. Remember when He spoke of destroying and rebuilding the temple in three days?

“So when one reads the Old Testament, one can see that it agrees that the LAW shall forever be important… even in the NEW Covenant! Yashua said that He did not come to do away with the Law, but to fulfill it. We are still to obey Mosaic and Levitical Law and the ten commandments in the spirit of the Law, especially “Though shalt not kill.” But, the ongoing ritual sacrificial offerings (lambs and calves and doves oh my) on behalf of sin were to be abolished with for ever and ever. This is why Yashua turned over the money changers tables in the temple. They were selling doves and other offerings. It is not unlike Martin Luther in the 1600s finding problem with the Catholic Church selling indulgences to as offerings to make up for sin. The canonical gospels include many different stories in them and only a handful of times do they share about the exact same events. This is known as the Harmony of the Gospels. There are handful of shared storylines included. This story was important enough to be included in all four of the Canonical Gospels. I think it is one of the most important scriptures to innerstand on a metaphysical basis.